Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

A New Twist on a Classic Flavor

22 FEBRUARY 2015,
Reese's Cookie Dough Cupcakes by 1 Fine Cookie © Jasmin Fine
Reese's Cookie Dough Cupcakes by 1 Fine Cookie © Jasmin Fine

Some things were just made to go together: macaroni and cheese, Tom and Jerry (also, Ben and Jerry), chips and salsa, green eggs and ham...the list could go on and on. Matches “made in heaven” are all around us! One of the things on the top of that list for me is chocolate and hazelnuts. For me, writing a recipe for these cupcakes was probably long overdue considering how in love with the flavor combination I am. I have always had a huge sweet tooth, predisposed to fall madly in love with anything chocolate. While I only recently became a fan of peanuts and chocolate (i.e. peanut butter cups), it seems as if I have been a lifetime lover of other nut/chocolate combinations, predominately hazelnuts and chocolate. I can still remember around the holidays as a little girl seeing the Ferrero Rocher chocolate truffles on the table, and knowing that they were the special truffles just because of how pretty they looked. I remember my dad would give me one and tell me to eat it slowly and enjoy it…I suppose that is where my love of chocolate and hazelnuts together began.

The first recording of a chocolate and hazelnut combination dessert was in the early 1800s; an Italian man made a spread of chocolate and hazelnut and voila! In that time in the Italian economy, chocolate was extremely expensive whereas hazelnuts were available in surplus. The idea of making a paste of hazelnut to add to a small portion of chocolate was a stroke of genius, because not only did the hazelnuts enhance the flavor of the chocolate, but they also made eating chocolate more affordable, and – dare I say – more fun. Now more than two hundred years later, chocolate hazelnut spread is more popular than ever, and the possibilities for this flavor combination are endless. This recipe features a frosting containing the ever so popular chocolate hazelnut spread and is topped with a chocolate hazelnut truffle; this was the idea I had for the timeless combination of flavors, what is yours?

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Yields 24+ (about 30)

Cupcakes:

1 cup butter

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flower

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup almond milk

Frosting:

1 cup butter

1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

1 tsp vanilla

2-3 cups confectioner's sugar

1/4 - 1/2 cup almond milk

Directions:

Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder. In another large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the cooled butter/chocolate and beat until fully combined. While still beating, add half of the flour mixture, then half of the almond milk. Repeat this until everything is added, and stir until just combined.

Bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes.

For the frosting, beat the butter until it is smooth and fluffy (about 3 minutes.) Beat in the chocolate hazelnut spread and vanilla. Beat in the confectioner's sugar a cup at a time until you reach your desired sweetness/mass ratio. Beat in the milk 2 tablespoons at a time until you reach your desired thickness.

Pipe with a star tip and top with a truffle and chocolate drizzle.